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GE Plans 20 Percent Cut in Water Use by 2012

Riding a wave of successes from its multi-billion dollar ecomagination program, GE announced Wednesday a new goal of cutting its global water usage 20 percent by 2012.

GE Chairman and CEO Jeff Immelt unveiled the new initiative in Beijing Wednesday, the same day the company revealed revenue from its ecomagination products surpassed $14 billion in 2007. Already the company has spent more than $1 billion in related research and development.

“Ecomagination is one of the most successful cross-company business initiatives in our recent history,” Immelt said. “It is a clear amplifier of our strong reputation for innovation and execution, harnessing the strength of every GE business to maximize returns for GE investors while minimizing our own energy use and greenhouse gas emissions.”

The company’s new initiative aims to cut fresh water use 20 percent, in absolute terms, through reuse and process efficiencies in its commercial and manufacturing processes. The initiative's successes will be passed on to its industrial, municipal and government customers. GE also issued a water reuse white paper Wednesday to help communities and governments boost water recycling and reuse.

The water initiative joins other environmental goals couched within its ecomagination strategy. The company, for example, reduced its greenhouse gas emissions from operations 8 percent last year below 2004 baseline levels and saved about $100 million through reduced energy consumption.

In 2007, ecomagination products were responsible for $14 billion in sales, putting the company on track to surpass its original goal of $20 billion in annual sales by 2010. Now the company said its revised goal is $25 billion in annual sales of ecomagination products by 2010.

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